Ken Griffey Jr. Elected to Hall of Fame on First Ballot

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Ken Griffy Jr

Received 99.3% of the votes, the most in baseball history

Former teammate Edgar Martinez received 43.4% of votes.

SEATTLE, Wash. — Shortly after 6:00 p.m. ET today, National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson announced that former Mariners great Ken Griffey Jr. was among two players elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016.

Griffey becomes the 51st first ballot Hall of Fame member, and joins Mike Piazza in this year’s class. Ken’s former Mariners teammate Edgar Martinez received 43.4% of the vote, the highest percentage in his seven years on the ballot. Candidates need at least 75% of the vote for election. Hall of Fame voters consist of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. This year’s induction ceremony will take place on Sunday, July 24 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

In his 22 Major League seasons (1989-2010), Ken belted 630 home runs, sixth on the all-time list. Only two left-handed hitters in baseball history have hit more home runs (Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth). The definition of a five-tool player, he was one of 30 players named to MLB’s All-Century team in 1999

“Junior” was the first player selected in the June 1987 draft, selected by the Mariners out of Moeller High School in his hometown Cincinnati. He is the first member of the Hall of Fame to be selected first overall. Less than two years later at the age of 19, he broke into the big leagues on Opening Night in 1989. From 1990-1999, he was a member of 10 American League All-Star teams, received 10 Gold Glove Awards for his play in center field, and earned seven Silver Slugger Awards. He was the A.L. home run champion four times, and was the unanimous American League Most Valuable Player in 1997, when he batted .304 and led the league with 123 runs scored, 393 total bases, 56 home runs and 147 RBIs. 

Even more significant than the many numbers and statistics and awards (see attachments), Griffey Jr. led the Mariners to the club’s first-ever postseason appearances in 1995 and 1997, solidifying the franchise in Seattle. The late Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus called Safeco Field “the house that Griffey built.” In addition to being the “Face of the Franchise,” he was arguably the “Face of the Game of Baseball” for much of his career.

In his nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (2000-2008), Junior was on three National League All-Star teams and was named N.L. Comeback Player of the Year in 2005. He finished the 2008 season with the White Sox before returning to the Mariners in 2009. He retired on June 2, 2010 and is still first on the Mariners all-time home run list (417) and is among the club’s all-time leaders in every major offensive category.

Ken and his father Ken Sr. made history as the first father-son teammates in the big leagues. They were in the Mariners starting lineup for the first time on August 31, 1990, at the Kingdome with father in left field and son in center. In the bottom of the first inning, father and son singled back-to-back. Two weeks later (Sept. 14) in Anaheim, they hit back-to-back homers. 

It was Ken Griffey Jr.’s original idea to honor the legendary Jackie Robinson by wearing number 42 for the Mariners game on April 15, 1997. His idea evolved to the point where Commissioner Bud Selig ruled that all Major League players now wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, each year.

Ken has always been active in his community. The Ken Griffey Jr. Family Foundation supports local, regional and national causes, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Orlando, Cincinnati and elsewhere. He’s on the National Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and has been honored by a variety of causes for his personal support, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT). As part of his induction into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame in 2013, the Ken Griffey Jr. Family Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research was established at Seattle Children’s.

Griffey resides in Orlando, FL, with his wife Melissa and their three children: Trey, Taryn and Tevin.  Trey is a wide receiver for the University of Arizona football team while Taryn plays for the U of A women’s basketball team.

 

STATEMENT FROM HOWARD LINCOLN

Seattle Mariners Chairman & CEO

On behalf of everyone associated with the Seattle Mariners, congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. on his election today to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is a great day for Mariners fans and really all baseball fans to celebrate his outstanding career and love of the game.

We are excited to join Ken and his family in Cooperstown on Induction Weekend in July, when he will take his place with the all-time greats of baseball.

In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Ken should be applauded, along with his teammates, for solidifying Major League Baseball in Seattle and the Northwest, and for being a wonderful family man who has given generously to local and national charitable causes, in particular helping young people.

 

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